History of the McCaffery - 1967


On 1 January 1967, McCaffery was moored at Mayport, Florida. Commanding officer, CDR A.G. Hodge.

On 27 January, in a breasting move, Navy tug YD-204 neglected to cast off a mooring line attached to a bitt at frame 90. Extensive damage occurred to bulkheads on the port side, and six stanchions parted at the weld with the main deck. After repairs were made, McCaffery got underway for Charleston, South Carolina on 30 January for degaussing, returning to Mayport on 1 February.

On 3 February, 30 and 45 caliber rounds of ammunition were loaded, as well as hand and smoke grenades. On 7 February, McCaffetry got underway as a unit of DESDIV 161 for the voyage to Vietnam. En route, McCaffery stopped at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (9 February), passed through the Panama Canal (12 February), and moored at Rodman Naval Base at the Pacific end of the Panama Canal (12 - 14 February). McCaffery, with DESDIV 161, got underway to rendezvous with Taluga (AO-62) and refuel near Acapulco, Mexico. She then continued en route for Pearl Harbor for a five day port-call (26 February - 3 March). While in port, orientation and training occurred to familiarize the crew with expectations in WESTPAC, especially on the gunline.

On 4 March, McCaffery got underway for Midway, and stopped briefly for fuel (7 March). She continued to Yokosuka, Japan, and arrived on 14 March. During this leg of the voyage, rough seas were encountered, meals consisted of sandwiches, and sleep became almost non-existent. When the International Date Line was crossed (7 March), McCaffery was duly welcomed into the "Domain of the Golden Dragon". McCaffery arrived at Yokosuka, Japan on 14 March, and remained in port for four days to repair damage caused by the rough seas. This was also the last preparation period for McCaffery before she reached the gunline off Vietnam.

On 18 March, McCaffery got underway for Buckner Bay, Okinawa for a brief fueling stop (20 March), and then proceeded to the South China Sea. She arrived on station on 24 March in IV Corps Tactical Zone. This zone extended from the Mekong River Delta to the southern-most tip of South Vietnam and into the Gulf of Thailand. McCaffery's first assignment was shore bombardment, and she fired over one thousand 5-inch rounds in the first two days of combat duty. On 29 March, a GMSN fell overboard during a transfer from PC-63 and was struck by the screws. All efforts to save the seaman were unsuccessful. McCaffery alternated periods of shore bombardment with replenishment of fuel, food, and ammunition. On 9 April, McCaffery, while anchored in the mouth of the Mekong River, continued shore bombardment as requested by IV Corps Liason Officer.

As requested by the Naval Gunfire Liason Officer, McCaffery made firing runs along the coast in the Dao Phu Quoc area (11-18 April). As a result of this action, McCaffery earned membership in the Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club, which was a tongue-in-cheek nickname in the Seventh Fleet for units that had combat operations through air strikes, naval gunfire support, etc. McCaffery expended more than 4600 rounds of 5-inch 38 caliber projectiles at Viet Cong positions, emplacements, and bunkers.

On 21 April, McCaffery arrived at Subic Bay, Phillipines for repair and maintenance. All four 5-inch gun barrels were replaced because of the wear from the extensive shore bombardment. The crew repaired damage to various parts of the ship that was the result of the repeated shock from the main battery gunfire. Electrical fittings were rewired, and bulkhead seams welded as part of the general overhaul.

On 27 April, McCaffery proceeded to Yankee Station, which was a point in the Gulf of Tonkin used by carriers of Task Force 77 to launch strikes in the Vietnam War. Carriers that conducted air operations at Yankee Station were said to be "on the line". McCaffery was assigned plane-guard for Enterprise (CVAN-65). Keeping up with the carrier was no easy job for the ship's power plant, especially in the summer heat of the Gulf of Tonkin. McCaffery continued destroyer duties as rescue-destroyer astern of Enterprise until 13 May. On this date, COMDESDIV 112 transferred his flag from Moore (DD-747) to McCaffery, and remained onboard until 20 May, when his flag was transferred to Carpenter (DD-825). McCaffery made a port-call at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, for liberty, and departed on 31 May.

Chronology of operations during June & July
    2-9 June     Occasional firing runs north of the DMZ; plane-guard for USS Hancock, CVA-19; Involved in Operation Sea-Dragon
   16-26 June  steamed to Sasebo, Kyushu Island, Japan, for 11 day repair & rest period
    27 June      got underway for Chinhae, South Korea
    5 July         returned to Sasebo, Japan from South Korea area
    9-15 July    port visit at Hong Cong, British Crown Colony
    16 July       returned to duty at Yankee Station
    21 July       arrived at Subic Bay, Phillipines

On 26 July, CDR W.W. Jordan, Jr. relieved CDR A.G. Hodge as commanding officer of McCaffery.

On 28 July, McCaffery arrived at Gulf of Tonkin on special assignment off North Vietnam as a unit of DESDIV 161. She engaged in shore bombardment 30-31 July. On 1 August, Operation Sea-Dragon ended for McCaffery, and she was released for voyage home.

The voyage home consisted of a brief stop at Kaohsiung, Taiwan for refueling, then stopped at Yokosuka, Japan (7-9 August), crossed the International Date Line, moored at Midway (14 August), and moored for fuel at Pearl Harbor on 17 August. McCaffery got underway for San Francisco, California, and arrived on 23 August. On 26 August, McCaffery got underway for Acapulco, Mexico, and anchored there on 31 August. After refueling, McCaffery got underway for the Panama Canal, and passed through on 7 September. After McCaffery anchored briefly off Cape Kennedy on 10 September, she proceeded to Mayport, and moored there on 11 September.

McCaffery remained in port until 16 October when she got underway for three days of exercises in the Charleston, South Carolina operating area. On 20 October, McCaffery returned to Mayport, and remained there the rest of the year.

On 31 December 1967, McCaffery was moored at Mayport, Florida.

SOURCE: USS McCAFFERY -- 1945-1974 by Edward W. (Bill) Maslak